Medical marijuana (medical cannabis) is the use of cannabis and the chemical compounds to treat diseases, illnesses or improve their symptoms. Historically, marijuana has been used to treat health conditions and illnesses. There are two medical groups that are strongly against each other when it comes to medical cannabis:
• The American Medical Association, AMA, who has teamed up with other medical associations and are strongly opposed to the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
• The American Academy of Pediatrics, who strongly believe that the use of medical marijuana and the natural compounds that the genetics of cannabis consists of could become therapeutic for some conditions. They, however, don’t recommend its use until research is complete.
Cannabis has 85 natural compounds known as cannabinoids, which reduce symptoms of illness. The receptors look like the compounds, which occur in the human body naturally. Medical marijuana is specially bred to ensure the levels of each compound is recommended for different occasions. CBD referred to as Cannabidiol, is the compound in cannabis that has been found to have increased benefits in treating people suffering from depression and anxiety. Cannabis rich with CBD can be recommended to patients who seek anti-pain, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasm and anti-anxiety effects. Cannabidiol will not make you feel high and can instead counter the anxiety tendencies of THC. CBD is one of 85 natural compounds that are found in cannabis. It is a major element, which makes up 40percent of the cannabis plant’s extract. It has more benefit options than THC.
Another popular compound that treats such medical conditions is tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. It is used for muscle relaxation, reduction of inflammation and reduction of seizures. It is an antidepressant, stimulates appetite and lowers blood pressure.
Medical Marijuana research on depression
Medical marijuana and its evaluation for depression are still in their early stages. The researchers at the moment agree that the possible benefits could include restoring “normal” endocannabinoid function and stabilizing the mood.
There are scientists at the University of Buffalo who are looking into the use of medical marijuana as a possible depression treatment, which is caused by chronic stress. The School’s RIA, Research Institute on Addictions, has put great focus on endocannabinoids, which are brain chemicals. These compounds are naturally produced and play a major role in cognition, emotions, behavior and motor control. They also have a similar chemical makeup that’s similar to that of cannabis.
So far, these studies haven’t been performed on humans but instead, animals. They still discovered, however, that chronic stress could suppress the brain production of endocannabinoids. This could end up leading to depressive behavior.
The introduction of cannabis into the system could help in restoring previous levels and function. This could, in turn, ease the symptoms of depression. Research, definitely, still needs to be done to enable us to properly assess the benefits and dangers of medical marijuana. Only then can it be considered as a therapy for those living and struggling with depression.
There are three primary points when it comes to medical marijuana:
1. There is research that is on-going to determine medical marijuana’s long-term and short-term use.
2. There is proof that medical marijuana could help people struggling with depression
3. There are mixed views on whether or not marijuana can help with depression or worsen it.
Our MD Dr. Robert D. McMullen has been a practicing psychiatrist for over 35 years in New York City and has mainly concentrated on evaluations and treatment with medications and nutrients. He dives into the controversial topic of Marijuana, discussing whether or not it is considered treatment for depression.
For more information on Medical Marijuana, Depression and its effects, call (212) 362-9635
Our offices are located in Manhattan and Mt. Kisco NYC.
We are not experts in medical marijuana field or claim to be, because no one really is. There are no experts because it had been illegal until just recently. The Cannabinoid receptor is the receptor that cannabis works on. It’s essential because it has many effects on different parts of the brain. However, it has been studied very little because of the illegal nature that it had. Therefore, if you were a researcher and wanted to research on cannabis, it would mean that you had to illegally purchase it or not at all. It was also difficult to get funding for the same reasons. However, more research is now being done, and this will be beneficial to provide groundbreaking results.
One of Dr McMullen’s patients had suffered from chronic depression for many years, which was partly made worse because she had very strong chemotherapy for breast cancer. The treatment caused her to have “Chemo-brain”, which made her a little scattered in her thinking and did not have the same focus she used to have. She took many different antidepressants, which had very minimal effect on her. In January 2016, she drove off to Colorado and purchased a type of medical marijuana. The depression went away for a good nine months. It was dramatic that she was in such good shape. The depression came back possibly because her source of cannabis was much different than what it was before and it stopped working on her. She is currently taking a long break from it in the hopes that it will work when she gets back to it. The same thing happens with other drugs such as Carbamazepine, used for seizure disorders and mood disorders. It gets to the point that the drug stops working and the patient’s seizures come back, or their bipolar disorder resurfaces. If you stop taking the drug for some time, a couple of months is recommended, once you get back to it, it will start working again. Hopefully the same will happen with the cannabis-chemo patient.
We are, however, hesitant to use it or prescribe it just yet for depression or anxiety because, we don’t have adequate experience with it, and there isn’t enough research out there to show what is safe.
There is a huge problem with Marijuana use, and that is its long term negative effect. Some of these effects are:
• The people who’ve used the most marijuana over the years have more memory problems than those who’ve smoked less.
• Medical conditions: Many people get their first panic attack and the onset of their anxiety disorder on the first time that they smoke marijuana. It seems as though some people who have developed schizophrenia, may not have developed the condition had they not taken up marijuana.
• There are people who already had a mental illness, which got worse due to marijuana intake. Whether anxiety disorder or paranoid disorder.
Looking at the results leaves no clear decision. In the meantime, it’s not a good idea to experiment with your brain because it may permanently damage it.
Dr Mc Mullen, the psychiatrist in NYC, shared his thoughts on Marijuana and remains hopeful that we will be able to develop substances that are going to target types of anxiety and depression with these cannabinoids but we haven’t reached that point yet.
For more information on depression and Cannabis, call 212 362-9635 to book an appointment.
We are located in NYC, USA.